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Ok, so! Let me tell you what I was super secret squirrel about last week – I made a Thing!

Here’s the scoop – over the last year, Dearest Will & I have been doing yoga together, and both of us have been interested in learning to meditate. It’s been nice that the gentle yoga practice that we do together* has some guided meditation at the end, but we’ve both wanted something more. We tried a yoga nidra cd. We tried some chanting stuff with Deva Primal.** A little flirting with it, right?

And then enter the panic attacks.*** Poor Dearest Will started having them at the end of last year, and has been working with a therapist around that stuff, to some really great success.  A couple months ago, she suggested to him that he should try meditation. Osm, right? She sent him home with some YouTube links, and a mission.

After some browsing the YouTube clips, hilarity ensued, as well as some aggravation on my part – why, for the love of Pete, do meditations always take place on the freaking beach? I find the beach to be one of the most stressful places I can possibly imagine – the heat, the garbage strewn all over the place, the reek of suntan lotion and stale beer, crowds, sand that follows you home and gets into everything you own. Lawdamercy, why??

So I ranted, Will giggled at me ranting, we discussed at length guided meditation clips and what we would both actually want from one. Being a skittery animal  myself,  I held that any good guided meditation should start with, Shh – it’s alright now.

So, in secret, I set to work. I wrote a script. I edited it. I read it out loud to myself and scrapped it. I started again. And again. And a third time, until I got it close to where I wanted it.

Then I emailed my friend Steve. This guy changed my life in 1990, when he handed me a cassette tape with Surfer Rosa  on one side, and Goo on the other side – omogod, blissful noise! Seriously, I had No. Idea.† Anyway – Steve’s still making Good Noise these days, and with that in mind, I asked him if he could do 8 minutes of ambient music suitable for meditation.††

Steve sent me the track he came up with, pointed me in the direction of good (and free to evaluate) mixing software, complete with notes on how to cut and paste pieces and fix volume, and I got the hell on it.

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Omg, I did that thing again where I forgot that I had a blog for, like, a month and change. True story: life here has been all over the map.

For starters, I’m still looking for a job – either a second job or a job with more hours – while working part time at a place that’s only going to be around until the end of the year,* and it’s a bit exhausting.** I’m doing some freelance page layout, and still working on selling my art, which totally is helping make the ends come together, but I would really like a bit more security. That aside, household finances are still afloat, even if there’s been some belt-tightening and credit card using involved. Also, I’ve been dealing with an AS flare-up for the last few weeks, which is also exhausting, but finally starting to ease, thank goodness.***

On the lighter side of things, my head has been better than it has been in months. It turns out that not constantly worrying about people being crappy to me at work is pretty osm. Who knew, right? While not being stressed out about that, I’ve managed to get some pretty cool stuff in progress –

Like the  zillion little seedlings in my sun room! The garden is ready to go, and Dearest Will and Our Man Cub were kind enough to rake out the yards and ready them up over the weekend. And on Saturday I went with  Man Cub to the DPW and we filled the cat litter buckets (we’d saved up since autumn) with compost – last year the tomatoes didn’t really get enough sun, and so didn’t ripen well; this year we’re planting them in buckets so we can move them around and find the best spot for them. We thought we would plant this weekend, but it’s still sorta chilly here and there’s a chance of flurries predicted for Tuesday (whut). So we have cucumbers, peas, peppers, squash, melon, and greens in the window, all ready to go into the ground this coming weekend.† And beets! And carrots!

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Scattered – I’ve been truly scattered this last two weeks. Some of it is that Jack’s passing, and the anniversaries of other friends who have passed has me distracted (and, sister, I am distracted), but that’s just part of it. It isn’t that things aren’t happening, or that there’s been too much happening, even; I’ve just been having a tough time of organizing what it all is. Welcome to my January – I’m pretty sure that January and February are like this every year, to be completely honest.

So! Random thoughts, no particular order:

1. Chard-
Where have you been all my life? How could I have not known about you until I’m properly in my forties? Holy carp, chard! I want to eat you and eat you and eat you. I want to eat you with rice and tuna, I want to eat you in soup. I want to eat you gently wilted with garlic and olive oil. I want to chop up your delightful rainbow-colored stems and put them into my salad. Oh, chard, I adore you!

So we had soup  last night. Lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic, to be precise (Oh, Smitten Kitchen,  I adore you!) and it called for this new vegetable. It’s not often I run into a vegetable that I haven’t tried at some point, so I was a wee bit excited in the produce aisle, I’ll admit. I set up the soup and ribboned up the chard to be ready for the last few minutes of cooking, and then while stirring said soup, decided to sample the chard and see what’s up. I called Dearest Will in to join me and my puzzled expression. He took a taste and promptly brought his own puzzled expression to the party. We couldn’t figure this stuff out – there are flavors of bok choy, beets, and citrus in there, alongside a slight astringency reminiscent of spinach, and a delightful crunch. Love. I went back for seconds on the soup because the soup was delicious, and the chard made that happen. So, um, chard may be my new favorite vegetable.

2. Meditation-
I’m trying.* Clearly, I am a slow learner. At least I’ve set up a nice space to focus.**

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Can we talk please talk about Bunny Yoga? Omigod, I stumbled across the site last night – one of the communities put this picture up (see below) without artist attribution, and I fell to, hunting for him. The artist, it turns out, is Brian Russo, whom I previously knew pretty much nothing about, but am now crushing on a little bit artistically.

So this is not the first time that I’ve been brought to moist eyes by a cartoon – I’ll admit it has happened in the past (Mouseguard, anyone?) and unashamedly, too. But this was a different kind of moist eye. When I saw the bunnies in different asanas, I immediately and personally related. The focused expressions, the little round tummies, the little belly roll in forward bend – I immediately though, omigod, that’s me!

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The Universe stood still for a moment for me so I could lay down on the tarmac and catch her picture. I am honored.

I don’t do a lot of subscribing to much of anything, really – I hate clutter, and find it  especially crazy-making in my email.* I read most things right on their own pages – for example, I read Animals Talking In All CapsLaundry Line Divine, and Shakesville, among others pretty much daily. I read my webcomix like a hungry lady (zomg, Sinfest, how I missed you! Oh, Chloe & Bink, I just want to have you level my priest snuggle you!), and check the pages for updates on their appointed days. As an attempt at tidy, I just don’t have a whole lot arrive my email to tell me something’s new.

But then there is TUT. I receive Notes From The Universe in my email every morning, and I love them so much that I started a whole folder for them, so as to always be able to refer back to them. I look forward to them every morning, and tend to reflect back on them in random moments.

Here’s what showed up today:

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or
Let Us Speak About Meditation

Ok, so I want to talk for a hot minute about the slightly off-key chorus of balloon animals that resides in my head.

If you’ve ever been around when I’m hosting a slam somewhere you’ll hear me mention during the MC Spiel something or other about NO FUCKING BALLOON ANIMALS. Comes with the territory. At least I’ve stopped requesting that someone build me a paper hat. Rachel Hyman actually made me a paper hat once upon a time ago at a Java Hut slam – it was the Best Slam Evar, as far as I am concerned. But I digress.

So, yes, the talking balloon animals. Or the Radio, I sometimes call it. When I was in social work ages ago, people I worked with referred to it as The Committee, tho’ that label really implies a lot more about judgement than the other names. What I’m getting at is the ceaseless chatter of the mind which goes on ad nauseum, shifts topics with no warning, and distracts like a baws. Sometimes it’s got some judgement, but most of the time it’s more like a 1992 Honda Civic stuffed with some busy eight-year-olds who’ve been up since the crack of omigod eating Cap’n Crunch from the big bowl – Where we going? Are we almost there? Are we there yet? Can we buy candy when we get there? Don’t forget about that book you read in 1987 – I liked that book a bunch. Oooh! This is a good song – I’mma sing along with Avril Lavigne! Holy carp, what time is it? Are we there yet? Where are we gonna go tomorrow? I might be hungry – what’re we having for dinner? You start cooking dinner by getting a clean pan – no no wait – you have to wash the dishes fist. We’ll do the dishes and water all the plants right after yoga. Speaking of plants, the strawberries need to go outside – the windowsill just isn’t cutting it, and the bigger cat keeps referring to it as, ‘salad.’ Are we there yet?

Which is to say, when that shit is turned up, it takes some doing to concentrate.

And I’m trying to learn how to meditate, did I mention?
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